Two finance ministers Zuma fired to testify at state capture inquiry

Two of the finance ministers who Jacob Zuma fired during his time as South Africa's president are expected to testify at the state capture commission of inquiry.

Head of legal services, Paul Pretorius SC, told the commission that current Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and current Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene were expected to form part of the list of witnesses.

LIVE: Legal teams for Zuma, Ajay Gupta, Lynne Brown all present at #StateCaptureInquiry

The others include former deputy minister Mcebisi Jonas, former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor and former GCIS CEO Themba Maseko.

Nene was removed by Zuma in December 2015, just 19 months into the job, on the basis of a promise that he would head up a new African regional centre of the Brics Development Bank.

His axing at the time - to make way for then little-known MP Des van Rooyen - caused the rand to decline in value against the dollar and it became known as "Nenegate".

READ: Zuma, Guptas bring legal muscle on first day of state capture inquiry

Disappointment

Van Rooyen was replaced three days later by Gordhan, who returned to his old portfolio from his then post as Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

However, Gordhan was axed along with Jonas, during Zuma's infamous late-night Cabinet reshuffle in March last year.

The state capture commission of inquiry officially got under way in Parktown on Monday.

READ State Capture Inquiry: Who are the roleplayers?

Chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, expressed his disappointment at the number of people who came forward with evidence.

It was not the first time Zondo expressed concern about the issue. He previously told reporters that any member of the public who wished to give evidence was welcome to do so.

"We urge all South Africans who love this country to come forward," Zondo said.

"We all know there are many people out there who have evidence and who know some of the things that were happening."

The commission's work was also apparently hampered when the State Security Agency (SSA) did not issue security clearance for the staff.

Security clearances

On the issue of security clearance, Zondo said he wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa in early August and asked him to intervene.

In his opening remarks, Zondo said state security agents have not expedited the necessary clearances.

He said he hoped the clearance problem would be resolved because the commission's work was urgent and there was a team working day and night.

The SSA said in a statement on Monday, that the state security minister gave an undertaking that it would "lend all the necessary support which would be required" by the commission.

"This is precisely because of the critical role of the commission in ensuring that the extent and nature of state capture is established, that confidence in public institutions is restored and that those responsible for any wrongdoing face the consequences thereof.

"In this regard, the SSA had put in place a process to ensure that all members of the commission discharge their responsibilities, notwithstanding the challenges, some of which have been beyond our control.

"From the 77 cases received, 98% requests for provisional clearances have been dealt with. We are currently busy with upgrades and recent cases. It should be noted that we are experiencing challenges from some of people we are dealing [with], with some not taking this exercise serious and [making] lots of excuses, thereby hindering the pace under which we would have liked to accelerate this effort."

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